When it comes to gardening, none of us shy away from a little help from Mother Nature. That’s exactly what these herbs do for us, they self seed and come back year after year without any input from us. I’ve got a list of 10 herbs that are not only self seeding, but easy to grow in the first place and don’t take much care from you.
These self seeding varieties of herbs are not plants then come back time and time again like Rosemary and Oregano, they are in fact plants that self seed. What I mean is that before they die, they plant seeds by themselves, and then the following year, those seeds will produce more flowers. This is GREAT because mother nature does all the work for you whilst you benefit from the produce it provides you with.
Be warned though, many self seeding varieties such as Borage can go wild. Plant them somewhere with a lot of space away from other small shrubs and flowers as they are guaranteed to take over your vegetable garden.
So here goes, my list of 10 Self Seeding Herbs:
Fennel – Fennel is a fairly common herb and is being used more and more in cooking. It can grow up to 2.5m in height so it’s not shy of growing to huge heights. It has an aniseed flavour that is recognisable in many dishes when it is used. Fennel actually produces 3 edible elements: Fennel Seeds. Fennel Herb. Fennel Vegetables.
When growing your fennel, you want to look for an area with a rich soil that isn’t clay and in bright sunshine. It takes up a lot of space, so give it a decent area. Another tip is to keep it away from Coriander and Dill as there are some known issues with cross pollination between these herb varieties.
Borage – The pictured herb at the top of the page, Borage has both edible leaves and flowers with a cucumber like taste. Borage is in fact one of the most versatile herbs. Traditionally, and probably most commonly, Borage is what is thrown into a jug of Pimms to give it that characteristic cucumber flavour.
However, this is not the only use of Borage. It can be used as a vegetables, dried as a herb, the flowers can be candied and used as decorations on cakes. Iranians actually use the leaves of the plant for Borage tea.
Like Fennel, Borage get out of control when growing it so make sure you give it a lot of room to expand and grow. The great thing is that it is a very nice looking plant, with pink and blue flowers so you don’t have to hide it away in your vegetable garden, but can in fact use it around your garden in flower beds.
Calamint – Calamint is another flowering herb variety with either white or lilac coloured flowers. It is in fact a type of mint. The great thing with Calamint is that is doesn’t grow large and tall like the previous two herbs, instead is spreads along the ground. It’s great for rockeries or areas where other plants just don’t seem to grow provided that you can plant your Calamint in glorious sunshine as it’s a bit of a worshipper.
Garlic Chives – Very similar to normal chives, Garlic Chives can be used in the exact same way as you would use normal chives. There are two distinct differences between the two types of chives, Garlic Chives have white flowers and have broader flatter leaves.
Garlic Chives are actually a great way of getting a delicate garlic flavour into your cooking without using garlic cloves or if you don’t like the strength of normal garlic.
So how do they grow? You’ll need to find a sunny spot with a rich well draining soil. They like moist but not soggy soil so water them as regularly as possible especially when you have a dry spell in the weather. You will often see the chives poking up near to where you originally planted them. However, they don’t require too much room.
Parsley – This has got to be one of the most popular of herbs to grow and one of the most commonly in cooking, and that is why I just love the fact that it is self seeding. An endless supply of one of my favourite herbs.
When planting your parsley, you want a sunny spot. When I initially began growing parsley, I didn’t realise it would grow to such a large plant.
I had seen parsley in other people’s gardens in pots and they looked like they were just filling a 30cm diameter pot, so thought it would be fine in a raised bed with a combination of herbs.
BE WARNED! Parsley is one wild plant. It grows to huge proportions and grows everywhere. In fact, my parsley has grown to a spread of almost a metre and about 50cm in height believe it or not. So just be careful where you put it and make sure you tame it.
Salad Burnet – In flavour, Salad Burnet is very much like Borage and has that same distinct cucumber flavour. Thankfully, Salad Burnet is not one of these herbs that grows wild and everywhere. It grows to quite a reserved 30cm in spread and height roughly and will grow in most places as well.
The leaves are similar to nasty stinging nettles so make sure you pick the right leaves. Something you can do is bash up a few of these leaves with a little white wine vinegar then use it as a salad dressing to give you salad a really refreshing cucumber twang.
Anise Hyssop – Hyssop or Anise Hyssop is a herb I really am a fan of. Not only does it taste good and have multiple uses but it also looks good in the garden. Generally, you see the blue spiked flowers but pink and white varieties are also available to use in the garden.
Hyssop leaves and flowers can be used in your cooking but be cautious when using both of these together, the leaves are far stronger in flavour than the flowers and will over power the flavour of the flowers.
It grows in most places but as always, loves a bit of sun. It will grow quite tall, up to 75cm in height but they’re quite strong so you don’t need to worry about supporting it.
Caraway – You’ve probably heard of caraway seeds, and if you’re a big cook then you may have even used them to spice some of your dishes. What many people don’t know is that you can in fact use the leaves of the Caraway plant. They have a fresh sweet flavour very similar to parsley.
The actual Caraway plant is very easy to grow. It will grow quite large, around 70cm in height at some points. It is another elegant looking herb that would fit in anywhere in your garden with delicate white flowers.
Chamomile – There are two popular varieties of Chamomile, Law Chamomile and Double Flowering Chamomile. Both have similar characteristics when it comes to growing it. You want to grow Chamomile where you have a large area of ground that doesn’t have anything else growing in it. Chamomile will creep along all of this surface and spread itself right out.
I prefer the Double Flowering Chamomile as I find it easier to grow and can always find somewhere for it to grow. It grows in places that it seems nothing else will. Areas such as cracks down the edge of paving or trailing out of a herb sink work really well.
Dill – Finally Dill, probably a herb you would have heard of, even if it’s only with salmon that you recognise it. Many people actually refer to Dill as a weed as well as a herb as it does grow in just about any location in the garden… Like a weed!
Whenever I’ve grown Dill, I’ve prepared an area in a bed that has no plants growing near. I’d want a clear area of around 50cm. I then sprinkle of a few Dill seeds and cover with compost and then let nature do the hard work. In a few months you will have a huge Dill bush growing. So get picking.
There you go, 10 herb varieties that you can leave and let them do their own thing. With many the old plants will die off and the new
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